Friday, January 26, 2007

Thy Name (part 4) - God Almighty

"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them." (Exodus 6:3)

God Almighty, or Elshaddai. From “El” meaning God, and “shadday” meaning Almighty. In this passage we find yet another variation to God’s name. God is Almighty. Consider these verses:

Job 37:23-24
“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. 24Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.”

Revelation 1:8
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

In the text above Moses was discouraged because he was rejected by Pharaoh (Ex. 5:2) and Pharaoh got so angry at him that he increased the Israelites work without providing for the adequate materials they needed. In turn the children of Israel got angry at Moses and Aaron (5:21). Moses began to question God (5:22) and even accused God of not delivering His people (5:23). God then begins to reveal some precious truths to Moses, and this revelation will also bring comfort to all who genuinely trust in the Lord.

First, God rejects Pharaoh (6:1). Pharaoh’s theology could be described as polytheistic (meaning to say he believes in many gods). So when Moses and Aaron approached him concerning the release of God’s people, Pharaoh said this, in defiance to God:
“And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” Basically God meant nothing to him. Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice? What arrogance or what ignorance? Maybe even both? The point is God was irrelevant to him. And isn’t this a reflection of the unregenerate man’s theology. It is only proper that dignitaries and important people are treated with respect and admiration. The Lord will not have a hard case to press against people who ignored Him in their lives during the Great White Throne Judgment.

Second, God reveals a glorious truth to Moses (6:2-3). In essence God reminds Moses of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and how that they were able to accomplish God’s will in their lives by simply trusting in God. Even when the only name they knew about God was God Almighty, yet God saw them through. And how much more should Moses trust God, when God has revealed unto Moses His most personal and covenantal name “Jehovah.” As a believer, we need to realize that this world is not going to make ‘serving God’ any easier. In fact, if you as a Christian live a genuine godly life, you are sure to suffer persecution. And if we are not careful, we will soon forget that God is Almighty, that God is in charge. And so God draws Moses aside and declares unto him, and unto us the very essence of His character, that He is Almighty and that He is the great “I AM.”

What does this mean to you and me?

A. God deserves to be reverenced. As the world continues into the downward spiral of sin, this attitude of reverence will soon be lost. The loss or lack of dress and music standards in many of today’s churches is a sad indication of a loss or a lack of genuine reverence for God.

B. God will judge all who reject Him. Many today do not want to be told what to do. And because God is Almighty, He does whatsoever pleases Him, and it is nothing for such a God to reject those who reject Him.

C. God will save those who trust in Him. Thank God, we have been given a name. God through His Son, Jesus Christ, will reconcile anyone who repents of sin and trust in Christ alone for salvation. A born again believer can apply Matthew 1:21b to his life: “…and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

D. God is worthy of our praise and service.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Just Me Checking In

A friend forwarded this poem to me. I really don't like to forward emails that are sorta like this, and so I will just post this on my blog. If you care to read it, great. If you don't care to read it, fine. I am not a poem nut, but this one is pretty good. If you do read it, please tell me what you think about it.

Thank you,
Bill Hardecker

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, Decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.
Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in a while.
His shirt was kind a shabby and his coat was worn and frayed, the man knelt, he bowed his head, Then rose and walked away.
In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap, each time he knelt just for a moment, A lunch pail in his lap.
Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear, He decided to stop the man and ask him, "What are you doing here?"
The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour.
Lunchtime was his prayer time, For finding strength and power.
"I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away; as I kneel here talking to the Lord, This is kind a what I say:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHERS FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN TODAY."
The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine.
He told the man he was we lcome To come and pray just anytime
Time to go, Jim smiled, said "Thanks." He hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the altar, he'd never done it before.
His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim's prayer:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHERS FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW T O PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY."
Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn't come.
As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some.
At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.
The hospital staff was worried, But he'd given them a thrill.
The week that Jim was with them, Brought changes in the ward.
His smiles, a joy contagious. Changed people, were his reward.
The head nurse couldn't understand why Jim was so glad, when no flowers, calls or cards came, Not a visitor he had.
The minister stayed by his bed, He voiced the nurse's concern:
No friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn.
Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile; "the nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that he's in here all the while everyday at noon He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, Leans over and says to me:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.
ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY, AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thy Name (part 3) - God

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)

This is taken from the root “El” meaning ‘strong’ or ‘mighty.’ Matthew Henry describes “El” as the “strong God” he further asks what else could bring all things out of nothing other than almighty strength. Elohim denotes two main concepts about God, first is the majesty of His name. God is majestic in His being. Before the you and I or anything else was even thought about, God had existed in eternity past, full of glory and perfect in all His attributes, lacking nothing. God is supreme. God rules and reigns and does whatsoever He pleases. The Bible declares to all that God is the Creator. Therefore He has the right and power to rule His creation.

Ponder for a moment the Sun, the center of our solar system, that ball of gaseous flames. Scientifically we know that it is 870,000 miles in diameter, which is 190 times larger than the Earth’s. And yet, we know that the Sun is only a medium star. And what is one star in relation to millions of other stars, some of which are vastly larger. Its surface temperature, we are told, is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the center 27,000,000 F. The distance from the Earth is 93,000,000 miles away. God designed our planet to be at just the right distance in order to sustain life, it also generates heat, light, and powers the atmosphere for wind and rain, etc. It is God who created the Sun. In fact the whole universe is the handiwork of God. Psalm 19:1 says “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork.” However astonishing this Bible truth is, man, still in his foolish rebellion, dares to shake his fist at God. Many people still choose to reject the clear message of the Gospel.

Secondly, the name “Elohim” also points to the Triune God. God is a Trinity. Christians do not believe in what pagans would teach as Tritheism (three gods), nor do Christians believe in modalism (God the Father is the Son, and is the Spirit- without distinction of persons). The concept of the Trinity is derived from the Scriptures. It is not an invention of human wisdom, indeed it is beyond human comprehension, and yet it must be received by faith. Many people today serve a God of their imagination. But God is not impressed. There are folks who are entertaining false thoughts about God concerning His most basic attributes (such as open theism). There are so-called evangelists who are calling to question the severity of God’s judgment of unrepentant sinners (or Hell and the Lake of Fire). Others have reduced God into a warm fuzzy old grandfather on a rocking chair. They have altogether created a God out of their imaginations. I think of it as a God created by the creature. Then there are those who willfully choose to believe that there is no such being as God. The point is, God is who He says He is. Despite our best or worst imaginations about God, one day, everyone will come face to face with their Creator. Once more, the only ones that will be rejoicing on that day are those who have understood the majesty of God’s name and have placed their faith and trust in Him alone.

Dear Christian, do you esteem God, to be supreme in your life? If so, are your daily decisions in step with such a Creator. It seems as though many of God’s children disregard God in their everyday lives, and this is manifested in the poor choice of not praying, not reading their Bible, not being serious about serving the Lord. I think that these sinful practices are certainly the exemption. Because we believe God to be majestic and supreme, He deserves our best, and that He is worthy to be praised. Perhaps, maybe perhaps, many professing Christians are so willfully disobedient to God and disregard Him because their faith is superficial. They may have tip their hats to Him, or whispered a prayer void of saving faith, that they end up being nothing more than an unconverted religious professing Christian.

If God indeed is supreme in your life, do you rearrange your schedule to maximize your service to such a God? Or do you serve the Lord when it is most convenient for you. The world is not going to make it easy on Christians to serve the Lord, they never have, and they never will. The point is, if God is “Elohim” in your life, then a difference will soon be manifested, even in something like your work or vacation schedule, and that without much effort, I don’t think.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Thy Name (part 2) - Jehovah-saved or Jesus

John 8:56-58
“56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

Not only did God reveal unto us that His name is Jehovah or “I AM,” but He also revealed Himself to us through the incarnation of Himself in the 2nd person of the Divine Trinity, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. We just got done celebrating Christmas. We took time in December to commemorate this wonderful miracle of God manifesting Himself in the flesh. Jesus Christ is the fullest expression of God’s glory. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person…” (Heb. 1:2a). When Philip asked the Lord to reveal unto them the Father, Jesus replied: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father.” (John 14:9). Jesus Christ is Jehovah God manifest in the flesh. He is truly Emmanuel, which means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).

There are other verses to consider in reference to this point:

A. Matthew 3:3
“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
This was a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

B. John 12:41
"These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him."

This was a fulfillment of Isaiah 6:1
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (Isaiah saw the LORD)

C. Ephesians 4:7-8
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

This was a fulfillment of Psalm 68:18
“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.”

These are merely some of the Old Testament descriptions of Jehovah God which are directly applied to Jesus Christ, and thus His deity is clear.

God is fully revealed through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to know what God is like, then study the Son. When Psalm 5:11 tells us that those who put their trust in God rejoice, and that those who love God’s name are joyful in Him, it is no wonder because Jesus Christ provides for us everything we need for our salvation, and He makes us fit to become kings and priests in God’s Kingdom.

How much of Jesus Christ must one believe on in order to be saved? The answer is everything that He claims to be in Scripture. When He spoke in John 8:58 and said ‘before Abraham was I am’ He was clearly taking the most sacred and personal name of God as revealed to Israel (i.e. Jehovah, or I AM) and He was applying it to Himself. This is perhaps the strongest and clearest claim of Jesus in the whole New Testament concerning His divinity. Dear Friend, Christ is Lord, Christ is the Messiah, Christ is the Savior, Christ is Jehovah, and to try to diminish any of His truth claims is to trust in someone other than the revealed Christ of the Scriptures. It is to pervert the Gospel. The only ones who in the end will be rejoicing, are strictly those who are trusting in His name.

I am so glad that God has revealed Himself in the person and character of Jesus Christ. God is so much like Christ that He cares for the poor and lowly, and yet He also is interested in the rich and powerful. God wants all to be saved, if only people would turn from their sin and selves and trust in Christ alone. It sure is a privilege to serve the Lord. When you stop to consider His great sacrifice and love for us, it isn’t hard to serve the Lord, and this service is done with great gladness.

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